Claimants in a class-action lawsuit (filed by the Federal Trade Commission on their behalf) received notices by U.S. Post this week requesting that supporting documentary evidence be submitted to the Court (by a March 31st deadline) with the express purpose of calculating "Actual Damage Awards" for individual Plaintiffs named in the pending legal action now that an out-of-court settlement has been reached.
As I reported in a prior post a few months ago, the Federal Trade Commission brought the litigation against the defendants - Experian, TransUnion & Equifax - to compensate aggrieved parties for damages they suffered due to flagrant Violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act at the three major credit bureaus.
In the moving papers - "White, et al v. Experian Information Solutions - the plaintiffs alleged that the defendants posted false, misleading, and erroneous data on their credit profiles which resulted in - a denial of credit, loss of potential employment, right to tenancy on rental properties, rejection of car loan applications, and poor credit ratings - all to their damage.
In spite of being "noticed" of the errors - all of the three defendants not only failed to delete the false information - but proceeded to willfully and wrongfully engaged in a conspiracy to cover-up their Violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Ultimately, the legal rights of Americans around the country were violated at whim and with little regard for the law of the land (or any remorse for their misdeeds, either).
Pursuant to the out-of-court settlement agreement, the dollar amount that will be paid for "Convenience" and "Actual Damage Award" claims will depend on the total number of claims validated by the office of the Settlement Administrator (appointed by the Court).
The amount of the awards to be paid with respect to each category of "Actual Damage" claims will be increased or decreased, pro rata, to reflect the number of valid claims in each category.
Given the response rate to the prior "Notice of Settlement" (mailed by U.S. Post), and the number of Class Members who may qualify for Actual Damage Awards, and depending on the number of claimants who file claims that meet the criteria, Actual Damage Awards are estimated to range between $150 and $750 for denial of employment claims, between $100 and $500 for mortgage or rental denial claims, and between $30 and $150 for claims based on other credit-related claims.
Depending on the number of claimants who file claims that meet the criteria for Actual Damage Awards, Convenience Awards are estimated to range between $15 and $35.
Claimants (plaintiffs in the class action suit) may elect to "opt out" of the settlement offer and pursue their own personal litigation in the appropriate court of jurisdiction.
For those Class Members who previously made a claim for an Actual Damage Award, the Court has extended the deadline to opt out (request exclusion from) or object to the settlement (including Class Counsel's application for attorneys' fees and costs which may be found on the settlement-offer website:
To opt out, parties must send a written request to:
White, et al v. Experian Information Solutions, Inc.
Attn: Exclusion Requests
c/o The Garden City Group, Inc.
P.O. Box 9517
All requests must include the plaintiff's full name, address, telephone number, signature, and a specific statement noting the request to "opt out".
Detailed instructions on how to prepare a "Notice" to opt out are provided on the website also.
Claimants may be well-advised to "opt out" and pursue their own litigation to avoid being bound by the terms of the agreement - especially in the event future violations persist - which may warrant additional recovery of damages.
For example, in recent days, claimants have lamented that - in spite of the out-of-court settlement - all three defendants (Experian, TransUnion & Equifax) have continued to post false, misleading, and/or erroneous information on their credit reports (in spite of promises to the court to refrain from doing so in the future).
Undoubtedly, the big brass at the credit bureaus are not unlike giant corporations around the country - who, when push comes to shove - elect to take the easiest route out to save their precious a**es!
Obviously, the FTC settlement is a mere slap on the wrist, in the overall scheme of things.
I say, haul 'the culprits into the town square, and string 'em up by the balls.
And, I'll be standing in line to tar 'n feather the deceitful low-life bastards, alongside the rest of 'ya!
Mr. President, there outta be a law!
FTC filed class-action suit on behalf of consumers!